Here Comes the Inventory

Posted by Dave Fratello on Friday, February 1st, 2008 at 5:29am.

It's not a flood, yet, but January has seen some very significant new levels of inventory come onto the local market.

With 23 new SFRs hitting the market this month (west of Sepulveda), we had the highest number of new additions since July 2007.

And keep in mind, we truly mean "new" listings – not comebackers, listings that took a couple weeks off the MLS for the holidays and returned.

As supply grew in this noteworthy fashion, demand appeared to be low. As we write, at the 23rd hour of Jan. 31, total sales (new escrows) this month in our subject region totaled just 8.

Most of the new listings came on in the latter half of the month, many just this week, so we shouldn't make too much – yet – of the great imbalance between new supply and sales. Many of these new listings haven't even been seen by anyone yet.

But buyers who have been scanning the available inventory and finding it lacking, or trying out low-ball tactics, will probably feel refreshed to see that there is more to choose from.

Naturally, we'll cover this ground in more detail in the next MB Market Update, but for now we just wanted to convey the extent of the new listing activity.

The graph above may need some tinkering after we really close out the January data (we prefer to wait a couple of weeks to account for failed escrows, etc.), but we thought that, for now, it was important to offer our up-to-the-minute tracking info with the context that this graph provides. (Note: If you're doing the math, please be aware that the graph doesn't show cancellations, though we track them, too.)

Maybe the conclusion is obvious – we could be just weeks away from seeing local inventory at the highest level MBC has recorded (since March 2007). And this would be at a time when demand has been tepid for a while. These cross-currents could matter.
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